January 24, 1917—Wednesday

[…] Ward teaching has been greatly developed among our people during the last few years, and many good results of this increased energy and well-directed effort are apparent. The teaching done by the brethren who visit our home is excellent, and I have taken occasion to cite the same in my public addresses. I am not sure, however, that in some stakes the effort to make a record of “100 per cent visits made” means 100 per cent of visits rather than 100 per cent efficiency in ward teaching.

May 20, 1917—Sunday

This evening […] I had a long and profitable consultation with Professor Wm. C. Mills, State Archeologist of Ohio. He is continuing his splendid work of exploration in the Ohio mounds, and I went over with him again the remarkable agreement between his deductions and the Book of Mormon story. He has reached the following conclusions:

(1) The area now included within the political boundaries defining the State of Ohio was once inhabited by two distinct peoples, representing two cultures, a higher and a lower.

(2) These two classes were contemporaries; in other words, the higher and the lower culture represented distinct phases of development existing at one time and in contiguous sections, and furnish in no sense an instance of evolution by which the lower culture was developed into the higher.

(3) These two cultural types or distinct peoples were generally in a state of hostility one toward the other, the lower culture being more commonly the aggressor and the higher the defender.

(4) During limited periods, however, the two types, classes, or cultures, lived in a state of neutrality, amounting in fact to friendly intercourse.

(5) The numerous exhumations of human bones demonstrate that the people of the lower type, if not indeed both cultures, were very generally affected by syphilis, indicating a prevalent condition of lasciviousness.

(6) The two peoples or cultures above referred to were in general migratory throughout a considerable period; and, in this course of migration, the lower culture was most commonly the assailing party, while the people of the higher type defended as best they could but in general fled.

(7) In consequence of the condition last cited, the people of the higher culture built temporary rather than enduring abodes, and are to be regarded as transients rather than as permanent residents of the region.

(8) As a further consequence of this belligerent status they buried their dead, with or without previous cremation, in such condition as to admit of expeditious covering up of the cemeteries by the heaping of earth over the sepulchres [sic], in which hurried work the least skilled laborers and even children could be employed.

(9) From a careful collating of data it is demonstrated that the general course of migration through the area now defined as the State of Ohio was inward from the west and outward toward the east.

Professor Mills states that no definite data as to the age of these peoples have as yet been found, but that the mounds may date back a few hundred years or even fifteen hundred or more.

Several years ago I placed a Book of Mormon in the hands of Professor Mills and, while he is reticent as to the parallelism of his discoveries and the Book of Mormon account, he is impressed by the agreement.

June 21, 1917—Thursday

Attended council meeting of the First Presidency and the Twelve. In the evening Presiding Patriarch Hyrum G. Smith and I were engaged in administering to the afflicted, amongst whom was one young sister who is clearly the subject of possession by evil powers.

August 23, 1917—Thursday

I was engaged in committee work during the early morning, and then attended the regular weekly council meeting of the First Presidency and the Twelve. Inasmuch as the committee work herein referred to has a bearing on what may be of future importance and interest, I make mention of it here in connection with earlier work done by the same committee. Elder Rudger Clawson and I constitute a committee appointed by the First Presidency to investigate certain rumors to the effect that John W. Taylor, at one time a member of the Council of the Twelve, but who was excommunicated from the Church by action of that Council, was restored to membership, and had his former authority in the Priesthood reconfirmed upon him shortly before his death. The committee has interviewed Matthias W. Cowley, who admitted that he had stated as a fact, in the belief that it was a fact, that John W. Taylor was so restored, and that under the administration of President Joseph F. Smith. Brother Cowley was told of his error and was required to notify all parties to whom he had given the false information that he had stated what was not a fact.

This morning Moses W. Taylor, President of the Summit Stake, called at my office by appointment. Brother Rudger Clawson, chairman of our committee, was communicated with by phone, and stated that he would arrive if possible, but he requested me to proceed in behalf of the committee to ascertain from Moses W. Taylor such information as he possessed relating to the alleged restoration of his brother, John W. Taylor, to membership in the Church. Brother Moses W. Taylor stated to me in effect as follows:

(1) That he had baptized John W. Taylor in Provo River a few weeks, possibly two months, before John W. Taylor’s death.

(2) That he (Moses W. Taylor) had told the family of John W. Taylor, that he had no commission or appointment from the presiding authorities of the Church to officiate as he was about to do.

(3) That he administered baptism to John W. Taylor at the instance of John M. Cannon, now deceased; that he acted under John M. Cannon’s direction in consideration of the fact that Brother Cannon was a Counselor in the Presidency of the Granite Stake, in which stake John W. Taylor had a home.

(4) That John W. Taylor, John M. Cannon, and he (Moses W. Taylor) were conveyed from Provo to the river by Arthur Welling, who is a brother-in-law of John W. Taylor and is superintendent of the Lund School for Boys; and that Arthur Welling witnessed the baptism.

(5) That John M. Cannon later officiated in confirming John W. Taylor a member of the Church, and that in performing the ordinance of confirmation John M. Cannon did use expressions to the effect that John W. Taylor was thereby reconfirmed in all the gifts and blessings he had formerly received in the Church.

(6) That he (Moses W. Taylor) regarded John M. Cannon as acting in an official capacity.

(7) Moses W. Taylor stated that on an earlier occasion he had personally inquired of President Francis M. Lyman as to the conditions, if any existed, under which John W. Taylor could be restored to membership in the Church; and that President Lyman had indicated the necessity of John W. Taylor doing all within his power to atone for and rectify the specific wrongs for which he had been excommunicated by the Council of the Twelve.

(8) Moses W. Taylor stated that he had had an interview with the First Presidency; and that President Smith had said to him in effect that the Presidency could give no appointment for the administration of any ordinance for the restoration of John W. Taylor’s membership, but that he should go down and do what he could to comfort his afflicted brother, John W. Moses W. Taylor stated explicitly that he did not construe this as a delegation of authority, and that, as before stated, he baptized John W. Taylor because he was directed so to do by John M. Cannon of the Granite Stake Presidency.

(9) Moses W. Taylor stated that so far as he is aware no record of the baptism and confirmation referred to above has been made on any of the books of the Church.

I was not a member of the Council of the Twelve when John W. Taylor’s case was considered and acted upon; I was one of the thousands who grieved over the necessity that had brought about such action. From what I have learned by personal association with the brethren of the Twelve and the First Presidency since I became one of the Council, I know that solemn vote to excommunicate John W. Taylor from the Church would never have been taken had not the facts made such an extreme course imperative.

Since my interview with Brother Moses W. Taylor, before referred to, I have learned through conversation in person, that Brother Frank Y. Taylor, President of the Granite Stake, knew nothing of the action said to have been taken by his former Counselor, John M. Cannon, now deceased, and that President Frank Y. Taylor is entirely free from responsibility for the alleged actions of his Counselor.

August 25, 1917—Saturday

[…] This evening’s issue of the Deseret News contains an official announcement from the First Presidency and the Twelve certifying that John W. Taylor has not been restored to membership in the Church. Our hearts are sore and sorrowful over the necessity of thus bringing before the public in such a matter the name of one who is dead.

Deseret Evening News (25 August 1917)

Deseret Evening News

Salt Lake City – – – August 25, 1917


With the purpose of quieting certain false rumors now in circulation among members of the Church, from which rumors wrongful inferences may be drawn as to the established order and practises [sic] of the Church, we feel constrained to issue this statement, deeply as we deplore the necessity of so doing, inasmuch as the name of one now deceased is involved.

It is a matter of public knowledge that the late John W. Taylor, once a member of the Council of the Twelve, was excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by the solemn and official action of that Council.

Notwithstanding all reports to the contrary, we hereby certify that the excommunication has never been revoked, rescinded, nor in any way modified; and that the said John W. Taylor has not been restored to membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Joseph F. Smith

Anthon H. Lund

Charles W. Penrose,

First Presidency.

Heber J. Grant,

In behalf of the Council of the Twelve

Salt Lake City, Utah, August 25, 1917.

October 9, 1917—Tuesday

Was engaged in consultation with Stake Presidents, Mission Presidents and others throughout the greater part of the day. Among the consultants were Bishop Wm. L. Adamson and his wife Laura Jane Rawson Adamson, of Carey, Idaho, who called by appointment, and related to me in the presence of witnesses the circumstances of a reported dream, in which Sister Laura Jane Rawson Adamson was visited, as she believes, by her deceased mother-in-law (mother of Bishop Adamson), who with her husband John, her daughter Isabelle Adamson Cameron, the 2-year old child of Isabelle, and James M. Adamson, were shot to death on October 29, 1915, by Wm. Cameron, husband of Isabelle Adamson Cameron. As reports concerning this dream are already current I took occasion to have Sister Laura Jane Rawson Adamson relate the account, a stenographic report of which was made which is to be submitted, and if found correct is to be signed by Sister Adamson. I am under the impression that the dream was given to Sister Adamson for the comfort of the family, and I adviser her and her husband to regard it as sacred and not to make it a matter of common talk. It may be advisable, however, to publish the account sometime. […]

November 8, 1917—Thursday

Attended meeting of the Twelve at 9:30, and listened to an excellent address by Elder Joseph F. Smith Jr. relating to the Lectures on Faith published under one cover with the Doctrine & Covenants. […]

November 25, 1917—Sunday 

[…] At this baptisimal service I was made acquainted for the first time with a procedure which I consider unnecessary, and therefore gave directions that it be omitted on this occasion, viz. the dedicating of the water by an elder before the baptism is administered. I am told that this has been the custom here and elsewhere. The usual invocation was offered at the water’s edge, but when I was asked who should officiate in dedicating the water for baptisimal [sic] purposes I advised that no such ceremony be performed. […]

October 31, 1918—Thursday

Attended meeting of the First Presidency and the Twelve. Today President Smith who is still confined to his home by illness, sent to the Brethren the account of a vision through which, as he states, were revealed to him important facts relating to the work of the disembodied Savior in the realm of departed spirits, and of the missionary work in progress on the other side of the veil. By united action the Council of the Twelve, with the Counselors in the First Presidency, and the Presiding Patriarch accepted and endorsed the revelation as the word of the Lord. President Smith’s signed statement will be published in the next issue (December) of the Improvement Era, which is the organ of the Priesthood quorums of the church.

January 2, 1919

At intervals for years past, the Presiding Patriarch of the Church has called the attention of the brethren, mostly in private conversation, to the fact that he finds an inconsistency in the order of presiding officials of the Church as they are presented today for the vote of the people, in comparison with D&C Section 124 verses 124 and 125. He has repeatedly asked for a consideration of the matter. Today the decision of the First Presidency and Twelve was made a matter of record to the effect that the Presiding Patriarch of the Church ranks in order of office between the Council of the Twelve and the First Council of Seventy, and that his name should be presented in such order for the vote of the people as has hitherto been done. Revelation to and the history of the Church combine in making plain the fact that no officer stands between the Council of the Twelve and the First Presidency of the Church. However, this was not the plan to which Presiding Patriarch Hyrum G. Smith asserted any claim, but he asked whether, in view of the Lord’s having mentioned his great-grand father, Hyrum Smith, first in order of the Priesthood (D&C 124:124), the place of the Presiding Pat. is not that of first officer in the Church, ahead of the First Presidency. As stated, it was the unanimous decision of the Council that the order heretofore observed shall be maintained, unless the Lord reveals another course as the one to be followed.

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